This is the 10th novel featuring DI Tom Thorne, the unpredictable and unorthodox British Detective. Central to Good as Dead is a hostage situation which brings together Thorne and DS Helen Weeks who appeared in Billingham’s only standalone novel – In the Dark.
The hostage element of the plot brings a good pace and tension to the story and we have a race against time to see whether Thorne can solve the case and prevent the types of things you expect to happen when hostages are involved. The story takes the inevitable twists and turns as you get closer to the ending and for me it had everything to deem it worthy of being described as a page turner.
The procedural points are always well written and believable and in this book the hostage scenes added an extra dimension to Thorne’s character and determination. If anything he is becoming more isolated with each novel and not conforming to what people think he should be.
Time and again Mark writes great stories. He is one of the few authors where I buy the hardback book as I want to read new stories. NOW! His narrative voice is always spot on with a great mixture of humour woven into the main story. The supporting characters are on the edges of this book allowing Thorne to work as he does best: alone. He doesn’t follow the rules but he gets result by whatever means necessary.
If you read British crime novels, you MUST read Mark Billingham.